Game Recap/Notes: Game #8, Pistons 100 - Suns 107. 4-4.

 That was bad. With the Pistons previous 3 losses I could sort of explain it away, because there was a good explanation. The Raptors and Clippers are both really good and played awesome games, and the Nets were on a back to back. The Suns were the team on the back to back this time, and the Refs were awful but the Pistons lost this game.

 

Box score.

 

Ish Smith:

2nd straight game that Ish was pretty miserable. 9 points on 15 equivalents is just not good enough, even with what ended up being a decent night passing the ball with 7 assists to 2 turnovers. He also had a bit of KCP syndrome tonight where he got several of his buckets and assists on the break and generally totally struggled in the half court. He took some shots he shouldn't have taken, and the ones he should've taken he just could not get to fall, it was really just bad and I don't know what the reason for it is. We all knew he had some flaws, big ones, but in the first few games he always looked to be in control of the offense and was consistently making the correct passes. But the last couple of games he has looked pretty disjointed and unsure of his decisions. I really don't get what is happening with him the last couple of games, I just really hope he snaps out of it.

On the plus side, even though Bledsoe was really too much for him to handle most of the night, Ish did take out his frustrations on the defensive end and finished the game with 4 steals.

 

 

KCP:

Had a good night, and then totally ruined it by reminding everyone that nothing has changed, he just happened to hit a couple of shots this time. His final line of 27 points on 24 shots is a solid one, and he also was a big reason Devin Booker was limited to just 11 points on as many equivalents. He was doing a good job of taking advantage of Booker being literally one of the worst defensive players in basketball to get himself open for good shots, and he even managed to hit a couple of not so good shots. It was a good bounce back after not even being able to hit his good shots against the Clippers. And then in the 4th quarter, he decided he was Steph Curry, except that he is not Steph Curry. He took (by my unofficial count) 3 shots, 2 of which were from deep, down the stretch that were totally irresponsible. Like 20 seconds left on the shot clock, contested, leaning 3 pointers. And honestly, the saddest thing was how totally predictable it was. The moment Special K said “They should get the ball to KCP every time they can down the stretch” I knew that KCP was going to start chucking. His lack of basketball IQ took a excellent performance and made it one that was just pretty good, and that is the problem. He cannot quite while he is ahead.

 

Greater Morris:

Ended up with a pretty solid game. 16 points on 15 equivalents, 3 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals, while also doing a perfectly respectable job against TJ Warren on defense. He did have a couple of shots that were a bit over zealous, but nothing that was totally outside of his goofy midrange wheel house. I don't know for sure how much of Jared Dudley's big night was his fault, off the top of my head I would say not much, but he maybe gets some blame there.

He generally just played his game, got his looks in the mid-range, played tough defense, and was a steady presence all game. He did about as much as I think he was capable of tonight, which is part of the downside for Morris, but you certainly can't complain.

 

Tobias Harris:

Well, its official: Tobias is slumping big time. I (along with most others I think) was hopeful that he could keep his level of play somewhat similar to his great start, but now 3 straight games of poor play, and this 3rd one there is not a good reason for it (against Denver they didn't really need him. Clippers was a disaster anyways.) as it was a close game where they could have really used him getting a couple more tough buckets. His final line of 9 points on 13 equivalents is telling, and he was largely responsible (I think) for Jared Dudley having a insane first half shooting the ball. Once PJ Tucker and Jared Dudley got into the game, Tobias went away and could not seem to get anything going. Just a bad game from Tobias, and especially until Reggie comes back, the Pistons can't have him do this.

 

Andre Drummond:

18 points on 16 equivalents, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal, all the while getting fouled gratuitously by Alex Len. Props to Andre for (unlike a previous instance this year) responding to the horrible reffing by getting his complaining in and then taking the high road and just playing through it. That said, it was pathetic how much the refs let Len get away with, SVG was hot on the sidelines and if the game hadn't been so close, he would have likely taken a tech. Andre was in the post as opposed to in the pick and roll as much as I generally would like, but then again, Ish was really struggling to get stuff going in the pick and roll, and Tobias' game went in the crapper tonight. At which point Andre post ups are actually a really good option. The one thing that was frustrating was that PJ Tucker was able to keep him at bay for a couple of stretches where the Suns went small. This is not a horrible thing because anyone who has watched him knows that PJ Tucker is really strong and really tough, but I do feel like Andre should've been able to do a bit more. Other than that though, it was a really nice game for Andre.

 

Jon Leuer:

Fine game for Leuer, nothing special. 11 points on 9 equivalents with 9 rebounds and an assist. He struggled a bit on defense but not too much. So overall it is pretty much (what appears to be) the expectation from Leuer. He did have one play in the first half where he tried to iso against Jared Dudley and it failed miserably, that was weird. He has his limitations, but Leuer seems to be a fairly steady presence off the bench and I can see why SVG is willing to lean on him so heavily.

 

 

Beno Udrih:

Poor night from Beno, his 1 point was on a technical foul free throw, and he went 0-5 from the field with just 3 assists against 2 turnovers. He also could not guard Brandon Knight, which is frustrating not because anyone should be expecting him to be able to guard Knight, but because the Pistons should not have asked him to do it. If some random dude on the internet like me can look at that before the game and say “this will probably be a problem” and then after a few minutes it is a problem, I would like the profesional NBA coaches to be able to see it and get a solution to it. Just a thought.

 

Aron Baynes:

3 points on 3-4 from the line. Didn't technically take a shot from the field, with just 2 rebounds and a steal. I wonder what the record is for most points without recording a FGA is.

 

Stanley Johnson:

Looked good again for the 3rd straight night, 6 points on 4 equivalents with a pair or rebounds and a steal in just 6 minutes. Hugely frustrating that he played so little on a night where KCP predictably imploded down the stretch and Tobias was playing so poorly. Please get this guy on the floor Stan. He's good. He also may have been able to help guard the Knight and/or Bledsoe.

 

General:

I'm a bit worried that part of the issue with the offense is that teams are just so unafraid of Ish's jumper that it is killing the offense. Or maybe the defenses haven't changed, Ish just stopped hitting some of the shots they are giving him. Tobias has fallen off big time and they need him to stabilize as well. The Mobias combo has mostly carried the Pistons as the 2nd banana to Andre thus far. And they need both of them to keep playing well, not just one of them. The Pistons have the Spurs and Nuggets on a back to back next, and are in real danger of coming out of this trip 4-6, so they really need to take one of these next 2. If they head home at 5-5 I'm ok with that.

 

 

What do you think? What is wrong with Ish? What is wrong with Tobias? Is Marcus the Pistons 2nd best player now?